By Tom Taulli
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Commodities prices have surged, sending a shock wave through companies that rely on them, including manufacturers, apparel makers and food producers.
The commodities boom has been great for investors. (Read Can October's Best-Performing Commodities Continue Their Run?) However, commodity-dependent companies' profit margins are being squeezed, pressuring stock prices.
As a result, companies are trying to use technologies to improve their cost structures and streamline operations -- supply-chain management, better sourcing and enhanced pricing strategies. And companies that can provide those services stand to profit. Here's a look at three:1. PROS Holdings (PRO): This company develops enterprise software that allows large companies to optimize their pricing. That involves processing huge amounts of data in real-time and then applying complex formulas. The upshot is that PROS technology can help companies not only with setting the best prices but also when to give discounts, increase shipping charges or provide promotions. Even a small increase in prices -- if done correctly -- can have a major impact on a company's profits. This is especially important in the current economic environment, where it can be difficult to pass on price increases to consumers. While 2009 was a difficult year for PROS, the fundamentals have been much better this year. The company has taken strides to make its software easier to implement, which is a key for getting new customers. Despite all this, PROS still is showing declining revenue (according to its latest quarterly report) and is unprofitable. Because of the large expense of its software, it will likely take some time to get more traction.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.
- Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
- Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
- Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
24/7 market commentary from Jim Cramer and 20+ veteran Wall Street gurus. Get access to the latest trading ideas on stocks, options, and ETFs as well as a real-time forum to see the pros exchanging their investment ideas.
- Jim Cramer + 20 Wall Street pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Real-time trading forum
- Actionable trade ideas
All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.
- Real Money + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV